Day 16: Wine & Whales

The view from Franschhoek Pass.
The view from Franschhoek Pass.

Left Cape Town this morning for a quick spin through wine country, specifically the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. This area is home to dozens of wineries; it’s also a place of substantial natural beauty. As it’s just becoming spring here, however, the vineyards looked pretty barren. I’m sure that will be changing soon.

I still enjoyed a gorgeous drive from there to Hermanus over the Franschhoek Pass. The drive offered breathtaking views whilst driving, the view almost entirely unencumbered by unsightly guardrails. Nothing quite like driving on the wrong side of the road with no shoulder and no rail separating you from a precipitous fall to keep the heart pumping! Whee!

In Hermanus I hoped to see whales, as this is one of the locations known for whale sightings near the shore. Indeed, there was a whale (or two?) a few hundred meters (sorry, yards) offshore. There’s even an official “whale crier” to point out sightings. Got a better view of the whales this time than a couple of days ago, but still disappointing.

So I pressed on to Gansbaai, where I’m spending the night in a round B&B. Seriously, it’s called the Round House! And where my last B&B had no room for a chair in the room, this one has a separate sitting area and one of the largest bathrooms I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, on arriving in Gansbaai I drove to a local lookout and saw a couple of whales much closer to shore. I believe they were humpback whales, though I’m likely wrong on that. Below is a bonus photo showing one of the two displaying it’s mouth. On the whole I must complain that the whales apparently did not get the memo about appearing closer to shore and engaging in all sorts of dramatic and entertaining demonstrations when it would have been convenient for me!

A whale in Gansbaai, South Africa
A whale in Gansbaai, South Africa

LUGGAGE UPDATE: It’s been over two weeks without my luggage. I just sent British Airways an email reminding them of my situation. Yeah, I’m sure that’s just the ticket to resolve this!

Tomorrow I’m swimming with sharks. I do hope I return with some good shark photos — as well as all my limbs! Then, once I dry off, I’m headed off to Oudtshoorn, known for its ostrich farms. Keep me in your prayers!

5 thoughts on “Day 16: Wine & Whales

  1. “Whilst driving”? You stayed in England too long. I am enjoying your travels vicariously and wish for your safety whilst driving on the wrong side of the road.

  2. I’m trying to picture a whale crier, but my mind seems to have transported the old pen and ink drawings of the town crier to the beach–standing near the water in a newsboy cap, ringing his bell, and shouting “hear ye! Hear ye!” And about that memo thing . . . .all the cool whales are on Twitter and Snapchat these days, so you need to up your social media game if you want them to cooperate. Love you my friend! Stay safe and thanks for the reports on your adventures!

  3. Gary, you have to be having a marvelous venture. Find you a wonderful, beautiful, deserving wife while there and we will give you a BIG CELEBRATION when you come back to us. Be very careful swimming with the whales. Brave Man! LIFE IS GOOD! U ARE SO BLESSED.

    Suz

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